Could Dry Needling Create Relief For You?

Dry needling is a specialized technique used by physical therapists to treat a variety of pain syndromes. Pain can be associated with trigger points found in the muscles and fascia, along a nerve distribution pattern called a dermatome or be due to fascial trauma or scarring. Dry needling can be performed just through the skin (superficial dry needling), or go deep into the muscle and fascia and sometimes to the boney surface (deep dry needling).

It is called dry needling because nothing is being injected into the trigger points or tissue. In fact, solid acupuncture needles are used to perform the treatment. Physical therapists take additional training in this technique and need to be certified according to the state requirements. This is not acupuncture, as we do not palpate and treat the chi of the system.

When a patient with chronic or acute pain is not responding to traditional therapy techniques, dry needling can offer an almost immediate change. Once trigger points or severe muscle tension are identified, a sterile acupuncture needle is placed through the skin and deep into the myofascial tissues. This causes three things: a reduction in muscle tension, a reduction in pain and a chemical change that draws nutrients to the area to heal, repair and restore. All of this results in improved muscle recruitment and creates a pain-free ease of movement.

Dry needling can be helpful to stimulate muscles that aren’t turning on appropriately, such as after an injury. It is also effective when performed along the spine to treat pain that lies further out in the body, but may not be appropriate to needle due to recent surgery. For example, after a total knee replacement, needles can be placed along the spine to reduce pain around the knee. Sometimes, even the opposite side of the body can be needled and cause relief of symptoms on the primary side.

Dry needling can be very effective to reduce tension and trigger points around the neck and shoulders, pelvis and low back, migraines, shoulder pain, tennis elbow and more. For those who have chronic or acute pain but haven’t found relief for any length of time, dry needling may be a solution.

Jean Read, Physical Therapist, would be happy to work with clients to see if dry needling may be an appropriate option for their symptoms. Connect at 956-566-5443 or See ad, page 15.

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